A powerful mulit-day storm cycle is underway, which will bring heavy snow totals to all major mountain ranges in BC through Monday along with colder than average temperatures. Light snow will linger on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, before an overall trend to warmer and drier weather starting on Thursday, April 2nd.
Short Term Forecast
All ski areas are closed in British Columbia due to COVID-19.
Avalanche Canada has also announced that it will be ending avalanche forecasts for the season due to Covid-19.
Statement from Avalanche Canada (issued March 24th):
Avalanche Canada will issue its final forecast for the season on March 28, which is about a month earlier than normal. The final three-day forecast will remain in effect until March 30.
Avalanche Canada’s forecasts rely primarily on data from a network of avalanche professionals across western Canada. The early closure of backcountry operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic has cut off much of that data stream, so the warning service is no longer receiving enough information to issue accurate forecasts.
This decision to end forecasting early is also prompted by concerns for the healthcare system during this epidemic. “We do not want to provide a service that promotes recreating in mountainous terrain, where there is often significant hazard,” explains Executive Director Gilles Valade. “Both BC and Alberta have declared a state of emergency. Our health authorities, as well as our Prime Minister, are urging people to stay home. This is clearly not the time for taking any sort of risk.”
BC Daily Snow for the rest of this season
I will continue to write the British Columbia Daily Snow through mid-April for informational purposes and to provide positive news during this otherwise mostly negative news cycle. During periods of active weather, I will write forecasts daily, and during periods of quiet weather, I will write forecasts every other day.
An impressive late-season storm cycle is getting underway across BC, and from Saturday through Monday, we will see heavy snow totals add up across all regions over this 3-day stretch. Here is a look at the storm on Saturday morning’s satellite image.
Overall, the forecast remains on track with little adjustments needed since my last post.
Afternoon freezing levels on Saturday will be around 1,300 meters (4,200 ft.) in the Whistler and Sea to Sky region, 1,200-1,500 meters (4,000-5,000 ft.) across the North/Central Columbia, and 1,300-1,700 meters (4,200-5,500 ft.) across southern areas near the US border. Freezing levels will fall approximately 300 meters (1,000 ft.) on Saturday night.
On Sunday, a cold front will reach Coastal BC with freezing levels falling to base areas. The colder air will hold off until Monday across the Interior, which is when freezing levels will fall to base areas across the board.
As for snow amounts, I haven’t made many adjustments since my last post.
Snow Forecast - Saturday morning - Monday morning (3-day totals):
- Coast Range - 45-90 cm (18-36”)
- Most of the Interior - 25-50 cm (10-20”)
- East Purcell, North Okanagan - 10-30 cm (4-12”)
- Northern BC - Coast Range and North Rockies - 25-60 cm (10-24”)
- Northern BC - Interior ranges - 10-25 cm (4-10”)
The heaviest snow will taper off on Monday night, while a cold and unsettled pattern will linger on Tuesday with additional light snow showers expected, especially across the Interior.
On Wednesday, we will start to see further drying but some light snow showers or flurries could persist across the Interior. Temperatures will begin to warm up across the Coast Range on Wednesday while remaining cold across the Interior.
Starting on Thursday (4/2), we will begin to transition to a much warmer pattern as high pressure starts to build in from the south, and the pattern should also turn drier, at least to some extent.
The European Model is the most aggressive in building in a stronger ridge of high pressure with mostly dry conditions from about April 2nd-5th. However, the Canadian and American GFS models both project a flatter “dirty ridge” with the aforementioned warm temperatures, but also with enough moisture sneaking into the ridge to result in frequent snow shower activity during this period.
Bottom line, confidence is increasing that we will warm up late next week, but snowfall potential remains uncertain, though it’s unlikely we’ll see anything significant.
Thanks for reading! My next forecast will be posted on Sunday (3/29).
Whistler, Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain, Mt. Seymour, Sasquatch Mountain, Mt. Washington, Mt. Cain, Coast Range, Coquihalla Summit, Vancouver Island, Coast Range Inland Region
Interior BC - North/Central Columbia
Revelstoke, Rogers Pass, Mustang Powder Cats, Monashee Snowcats, Kingfisher Heli, White Grizzly Cat Skiing, Great Northern Snowcat Skiing, Eagle Pass Heli, Keefer Lake Lodge, CMH Adamants, CMH Gothics, CMH Monashees, CMH Revelstoke, CMH Galena, CMH Cariboos, CMH Valemount, Mike Wiegele Heli, Retallack Heli, Stellar Heli, Selkirk Range, Monashee Range, Central/Western Purcell Range, Western Cariboo Range
Interior BC - Western Columbia/Okanagan
Big White, Silver Star, Sun Peaks, Apex Mountain, Baldy Mountain
Interior BC - Kootenay Region
Whitewater, Red Mountain, Kootenay Pass, Kokanee Glacier Park, Southern Selkirk/Purcell Mountains, Snow Water Heli, Valhalla Powdercats, CMH Kootenay, CMH Nomads
Interior BC - Lizard Range
Fernie, Island Lake Cat Skiing
Interior BC - East Purcells
Kicking Horse, Panorama, Kimberley, Fairmont Hot Springs, Eastern Cariboo Range, CMH Bobbie Burns, CMH Bugaboos
Shames Mountain, Hudson Bay Mountain, Powder King, Murray Ridge, Northern Coast Range, Skeena Range, Northern Rockies
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